Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society:
Volume 11, Issue 5, August 2008
Online ISSN: 1468-4462, Print ISSN: 1369-118X
HOW LOCALITY, FREQUENCY OF COMMUNICATION AND INTERNET USAGE AFFECT MODES OF COMMUNICATION WITHIN CORE SOCIAL NETWORKS (p591-616)
Michael J. Stern (006 CLB Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA)
The number of ways that people communicate with their social networks has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Traditionally, the local community was the basis for people's social interactions; most of people's closest friends resided locally and face-to-face communication was the predominant mode of communication. Yet, today face-to-face meetings are no longer the primary way to communicate as one can use a landline telephone or any number of the computer mediated communications such as email. This paper explores the modes of communication rural individuals use most often with their three closest friends and how these modes of communication vary by three factors: (1) social tie locality, (2) frequency of communication, and (3) degree of Internet usage. Using a 2005 random sample mail survey of 1,315 residents in an isolated region of the Western United States, the results show that people actively use email to maintain core social networks, particularly when alters live at a distance. However, contradictory to previous research, the results suggest that increases in Internet usage are associated with decreases in other modes of communication, with proficiency of Internet use serving as a mediating factor in this relationship.
Keywords: Internet; social networks; computer mediated communication; rural communities
EXPLORING TIME USE
A methodological response to 'web-use and net-nerds' (p617-639)
Paul Stoneman (Institute for Social and Technical Research (Chimera), University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UK)
Usage of technologies, it has been argued, creates social and political malaise. Television was perceived to be the first culprit and it seems that the internet is being dubbed as the 'new television'. As such, this paper focuses on the relationship between internet usage and time spent with friends and family, as well as other associational activities. A secondary concern is the impact of internet usage on traditional media usage, namely watching television and reading newspapers. By critiquing methods and results in this area, and by offering further empirical evidence, it will be argued that the internet has yet to have a significant impact on time use in social life. Using Home Online (HoL) data, and employing factor analysis and lagged regression models, it will be demonstrated that some negative, marginal effects appear to have taken place in terms of reducing bonding social capital. It will also be demonstrated that counter-intuitive positive effects appear to have taken place in terms of reading newspapers. Given the negative time elasticity effects of internet usage on seeing close friends as well as some domestic activities, analyses of the internet's impact on relationships within the home, that is, family life, should be the focus of future research in this field.
Keywords: Time use; information technology; internet; social capital; social networks
COORDINATING FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS IN MOBILE NETWORK SOCIETIES (p640-658)
Jonas Larsen (Department for Geography, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark); John Urry; Kay Axhausen
This exploratory article describes and develops theoretical notions of how coordination takes place within mobile network societies, that is, societies where travel, ties at-a-distance, email and mobile communications are widespread. The article brings together studies of travel, communications and social networks through a particular focus upon the multiple processes of coordination. We specifically examine how communications are used to coordinate meetings between friends and family members, and how these 'coordination technologies' have in part changed the nature of arrangements to meet and conduct face-to-face meetings. We show striking changes in technologies and cultures of coordination - a shift from punctuality effected through clock time to a flexible and perpetual coordination effected through email and mobiles. This empirical research addresses specifically located embodied practices of coordinating meetings and it illustrates how coordination is a practical, relational accomplishment and how coordination cultures are variable amongst young adults.
Keywords: Travel; coordination; communications; social meetings; friends and family
THE PRACTISES OF INTERNET NETWORKING - A RESOURCE FOR ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL MOVEMENTS (p659-674)
Tobias Olsson (School of Social Sciences, Vaxjo University, Vaxjo, Sweden)
Over the past ten years, the political significance of the Internet has become a recurrent theme within the social science literature, with questions centring on the Internet's part in the emergence of political movements and in the reshaping of people's roles as citizens. These discussions have been predominantly theoretical and deterministic in nature, with the political significance of the Internet being viewed as a consequence of its features; for example, the Internet's network structure is addressed within this literature as a forerunner to a politics following network logic. For the most part, extant research has not told us much about the Internet's significance in individuals' everyday political engagement. This article aims to modestly compensate for this shortcoming by presenting empirical results from a study on the perception and use of the Internet among young people in four alternative political movements. Specifically, by drawing on semi-structured interviews with twenty-one activists and viewing the interview data through the lens of the 'network metaphor', the article illustrates and discusses three different networking practises in which the Internet is an important resource: (1) the activists' use of the Internet to maintain their organizations' network-like character, (2) their use of the Internet for networking within their organizations, and (3) their use of the Internet for networking in between different, alternative political organizations. The article concludes by discussing the potential significance of these networking practises for politics, and presenting a comparative outlook towards a similar, previous study of young members within established political parties' youth organizations.
Keywords: Political; network; Internet; alternative movements; Sweden
FROM HAVE NOTS TO WATCH DOGS
Understanding internet health communication behaviors of online senior citizens (p675-697)
Sally J. McMillan (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA); Elizabeth Johnson Avery (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA); Wendy Macias (Department of Advertising & PR, Grady College, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA)
Senior citizens are often positioned as 'have nots' in the digital age, but internet use among older Americans ranges from 68 per cent among those just entering their senior years to 17 per cent of those age 75+. About 70 per cent of online seniors report using the internet for health information. This study uses grounded theory to explore online health communication among older Americans. Open-ended survey responses from 357 internet users age 55+ were analyzed. Selective coding categories were: empowerment, personal and professional communities, and watchdogs and peer assumptions. These themes are discussed in the context of health communication literature with suggestions for future research.
Keywords: Online health communication; senior citizens; qualitative methods
KEY THINKERS PAST AND PRESENT
PAULO FREIRE: POSSIBILITIES FOR DIALOGIC COMMUNICATION IN A MARKET-DRIVEN INFORMATION AGE (p699-726)
J. P. Singh (Communication, Culture and Technology, Georgetown University, Washington, NW, USA)
This essay examines the legacy and challenges of Paulo Freire's ideas for a world abounding in information and communication or, in the case in this essay, representational technologies. Will these technologies help foster possibilities of emancipatory articulation or further the voiceless oppression of the marginalized? Can they do so outside the context of a radical struggle? The unorthodox argument in this essay leans toward emancipatory possibilities within a market-driven information age, albeit where these technologies help to foster dialogues and the interlocutors comprehend the implications of technology. A brief intellectual biography of Freire provides the praxis of his ideas: it emphasizes the development context of Freire's work and the way his activism intersected with his intellectual reflections. Next, Freire's ideas regarding dialogic communication, a call to social action, are presented. The essay then explores the implications of Freire's work within the context of two reference points rooted in communication technologies: representational technologies in general are examined followed by a discussion of the Internet. A concluding critique highlights shortcomings in the Freire influenced participatory action research (PAR) and argues against an a priori dismissal of markets.
Keywords: Dialogic communication; Paulo Freire; communication technologies; post-colonial narratives
(This journal is available online: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/1369118x.html)
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